Jordanian authorities detained the kingdom’s former crown prince and arrested nearly 20 other people Saturday after what officials called a “threat to the country’s stability.”
Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, the oldest son of the late King Hussein and his American-born fourth wife Queen Noor, was placed under restriction at his Amman palace, amid an ongoing investigation into an alleged plot to unseat his older half brother, King Abdullah II, according to a senior Middle East intelligence official briefed on the events.
The move followed the discovery of what palace officials described as a complex and far-reaching plot that included at least one other Jordanian royal as well as tribal leaders and members of the country’s security establishment.
Additional arrests were expected, said the intelligence official, who like others interviewed, spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing security sensitivities surrounding the ongoing law-enforcement operation. A Jordanian adviser to the palace confirmed that arrests had been made related to a “threat to the country’s stability.”
Prince Hamzah served as Jordan’s crown prince for four years before the title was transferred to the current monarch’s eldest son, Hussein.
Hamzah was informed of his detention by senior Jordanian military officers who arrived at his house with an escort of guards, even as the other arrests were getting underway, the intelligence official said.
The sweeping arrests also have been reported on Jordanian social media.
It was unclear how close the alleged plotters were to carrying out the plan, or what, exactly, they planned to do. The intelligence official described the plan as “well-organized” and said the plotters appeared to have “foreign ties,” though he did not elaborate.
Among the others arrested was Sharif Hasan, who also is a member of the royal family; and Bassem Awadullah, a Saudi citizen, the official said.
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